Miyagikyo has a staggering 24 warehouses for maturing whisky. Part of the reason is because they employ the unusual practice of only stacking maturing casks two high in order to maximize the local humidity
Country - Japan
Tel +81 (0) 22 395 2111 or (0) 22 395 2865
No tours are currently available. Visitors centre is open daily from 9am-11.30am and then 12.30pm-3.30pm.
How to pronouce Miyagikyo? mee-yag-ee-kyo
The Miyagikyo distillery is located close to the city of Sendai. The distillery was originally named Sendai and lies to the west of the city. Sendai is a modern city that has largely been rebuilt, following its destruction during the Second World War. Miyagikyo is owned by a sub division of the Asahi Brewery Company called Nikka, who also own the Yoichi distillery on the northern island of Hokkaido. The distillery is larger than Yoichi and has a current capacity of 2 million litres per year, but their whisky is less well known. Much of the whisky produced goes in to Nikka’s popular range of blended or vatted whiskies with just a small percentage released as single malts. The single malts have a cult following and Miyagikyo’s reputation is growing and they have recently added some significant awards to their trophy cabinet. This includes winning the Best Single Malt 2009 in two categories – the no age statement and the 12 years and under – at the recent Japanese heats of the World Whisky Awards.
Miyagikyo was founded in 1969 by a company called Nikka. They needed to build a new distillery in order to help their Yoichi distillery. The idea was for Miyagikyo to produce whisky for Nikka’s range of blended whisky, while Yoichi would concentrate on single malt production and marketing. The legendary Masataka Taketsuru took three years to find the correct location for the distillery. His final location was in a wide forest valley at the junction of the Hirosegawa and Nikkawagawa rivers. Taketsuru chose this spot after tasting the quality of the water from the Nikkawagawa river and observing the localised humidity that was created by a combination of the two rivers joining and the surrounding hills. He felt that it was perfect conditions for the maturation of whisky. Production started on a small scale in 1969 and the distillery was named Sendai. The distillery was expanded in 1979 to accommodate the production of grain whisky, and again in 1989 to bring it up to the current capacity. The Asahi Brewery Company took control of Nikka in 2001 and renamed the distillery Miyagikyo.